People who develop dependence and addiction to alcohol have a compulsive need to drink. They also drink more significant amounts than the standard recommendation. Because of that, they experience alcohol withdrawal when the drug wears off after their last drink. If they want to stop drinking, they need a medical alcohol detox to get through the withdrawal process.
Medical Detox Overview
Detox is the first stage of alcohol addiction recovery. It involves quitting drinking so that the body can rid itself of the leftover toxins. Medical detox is a treatment that provides medication, therapy, and other support during alcohol withdrawal.
The purpose of medical detox is to manage the symptoms that manifest so that people don’t start drinking again. It provides safety and comfort in a detox facility or hospital. Medical detox also helps people build a foundation for continued treatment.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Medical alcohol detox is an essential step in the treatment process because of the potential for life-threatening symptoms. Also, not everyone experiences the same symptoms. Medical detox staff, however, can monitor their condition and administer appropriate medications.
Nausea, sweating and trembling are some of the most common alcohol withdrawal side effects. They cause discomfort but don’t threaten people’s lives. Craving alcohol is also prevalent and can lead to relapse when those who quit drinking don’t get help. Although less frequent, convulsions can also happen.
The most severe and life-threatening reaction to quitting alcohol use is delirium tremens. Many people experience it during the second or third days of withdrawal. It can cause agitation, convulsions, trembling, and auditory and visual hallucinations. Dehydration and other complications can develop and lead to death as well.
When people go through medical alcohol detox, the withdrawal process usually lasts for five to seven days. However, some of the symptoms can linger for a few weeks or months as their bodies adjust to not drinking. Cravings, anxiety, depression and trouble sleeping are the most likely to continue.
Medical Alcohol Detox Process
The medical detox process begins with a physical and mental exam, blood tests and screening for other health issues. The results help the detox staff predict the symptoms that people will have and prepare the appropriate treatment.
The next step involves stopping alcohol use and starting detox. Doctors and nurses administer medicines such as beta blockers, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants depending on specific withdrawal symptoms. Toward the end of stabilization, they may introduce medications that decrease cravings and the chance of relapse.
Vitamin supplements are common during medical detox too. The reason is that many people with alcohol use disorder don’t eat right. They often develop vitamin deficiencies that can lead to health problems. For instance, a lack of vitamin B1 can cause brain disorders.
Preparing for further alcohol addiction treatment is the final step of medical detox. The staff provides therapy to get people more familiar with what will happen in rehab. Most of the time, the treatment includes education, individual therapy, and group therapy.
Length of Detox
Although withdrawal typically lasts five to seven days, the entire medical detox process takes longer. In most cases, it doesn’t last for more than three weeks. However, the length of medical alcohol detox differs for everyone.
People’s ages, weight, family histories, overall health and duration of addiction impact how long they stay in detox. Another factor that affects the timeline is the presence of co-occurring disorders. Having another mental illness along with addiction makes treatment more complicated. With the proper care, however, people can learn to manage both issues.
Get Medical Detox for Alcohol Use at Serenity House Detox & Recovery
If you or a loved one has an alcohol use disorder, visit Serenity House Detox & Recovery for all of your detox needs. We’ll create a customized treatment plan to address your specific symptoms and health issues. Our goal is to help you engage in your recovery and prepare you for ongoing sobriety.
At Serenity House Detox & Recovery, we use 12-step and holistic strategies to help you through withdrawal and plan for the future. Some of the therapies that we use include behavioral therapy, family therapy, and meditation therapy. In addition to alcohol treatment, we provide programs for many other drug addictions, including:
Don’t let alcohol control your life and ruin your future. Get medical alcohol detox at Serenity House Detox & Recovery. Dial 866-294-5306 now to begin your journey toward recovery.